Thursday, 17 July 2008

US Liberals In Sense of Humour Failure Shocker

The controversy surrounding the Barack Obama New Yorker cover is hysterical in both senses of the word.

If I were involved in ground-level electioneering for the Republican party, I could do a lot worse than to throw together some of the contemptuous comments being made on the likes of Huffington Post and Daily Kos about 'ordinary Americans who don't read the New Yorker and won't get the joke'. I am seeing the following sentiment expressed again and again (this example is from a mainly US-liberal message board I read regularly):

I am amazed at the number of people who continuously miss the point here. Presumably intelligent and savvy people who read the New Yorker.

Yes, we ALL get that the cover is satire. And to liberals and New Yorker readers they get it and think it is funny.

Swell...no problem if the world was only populated by people who read and comprehend the New Yorker.

But it is not. There are more than enough people out there who will not get it. Or they will get it and deliberately misuse it. The New Yorker handed an ideal smear picture, one that conservatives would not have dared to make on their own, to the conservatives. They can now bandy it about willy nilly, it's already out there and not their doing. As such the illustration will perpetuate misinformation in some groups who previously would have a hard time hanging on to their prejudices.

I get the humor here. I am not offended. In principle I agree with what they are trying to do. But I also am shocked at their naivete over this. Indeed I do not think the artist or the New Yorker were naive...I suspect they had to know where this would take them.
The issues are different, but the mindset is the same - We (left-liberals) are your betters, we will tell you what to think, and we don't like it when someone throws a spanner in.

This controversy is bringing to the forefront some of the worst traits exhibited by significant elements of the left: A hair-trigger recourse to 'offence' (More: Martin Rowson) and a contempt for those with different worldviews (More: Kirk Leech).

Of course, there's always the alternative type of response; illustrated here by David Horsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

7 comments:

Patrick Vessey said...

Here's another one.

Is this also simply amusing satire? If not, why not? Discuss.

Wolfie said...

Maybe its all just anti-irony dressed-up as irony like a Russian doll with many layers of gaudy smug humour that would appeal to a small child or tourist?

Maybe its just shit and the New Yorkers aren't half as witty or as cleaver as they think they are?

Thank god for Private Eye! 'strewth.

TBRRob said...

I just don't find it funny. There's nothing comical about it. I think it's trying to be too clever.

The mistake made is that good satire has an element of truth in it. The Obama muslim links are too tenuous.

The McCain one is much funier.

QT said...

Do you realise what the point of the cartoon was, i.e. that the New Yorker was satirising the ludicrous claims of right-wing pundits in the US regarding Obama and his wife?

That is where the "Muslim links" come from, not from reality.

Richard said...

I always think the burning US flag is particularly funny in this one because as any fule kno, Obama supported the criminalisation of flag-burning without changing the Constitution. His justification was especially hilarious, given that he's supposedly a Constitutional lawyer:

1) Flag burning is bad.
2) The US is a nation of laws.
3) The Constitution is the highest law in the land.
4) Therefore, we should ignore the Constitution rather than changing it.

QT said...

@richard: Are you sure about that? Obama voted against a flag burning ban in June 2006 (Link)

Wolfie said...

"Do you realise what the point of the cartoon was, i.e. that the New Yorker was satirising the ludicrous claims of right-wing pundits in the US regarding Obama and his wife? "

We all got that I think Ian and its still not witty or funny.